Towards the Light: The Story of the Struggles for Liberty and Rights that Made the Modern West by A. C. Grayling

by |September 16, 2011

I have been reading Towards the Light for a while now. My father said it was right up my alley. I am chuffed to think that my father knows I have an alley and has understood my mad ravings at family get-togethers enough to appreciate I may like to read Towards the Light.

A.C. Grayling, of course, writes far better than I rave.

Towards the Light is very much the kind of book which makes me want to scream… Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s what I’ve been saying all along!

The only way to ensure we retain the freedoms we enjoy today is to appreciate and understand the struggle to attain them.

Now, to get every single human in the world to read and to understand the book.

The trouble is, I can’t really justify any attempt to force people to read a book about liberty.

So here’s what I’ll do. I shall make a request to you, dear reader. If you love and respect the freedoms you enjoy right now, buy multiple copies of Towards the Light and leave them lying about in places where people may need a book to read. Or, if you really, really love liberty, buy box loads and donate them to schools. Okay? Great.

I bet this is going to work so well!

Buy Towards the Light here.

About A.C. Grayling’s inspirational history of ideas in action, Towards the Light.

The often-violent conflicts of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were sparked by the pursuit of freedom of thought. In time, this drive led to bitter fighting, including the English Civil War. Then came revolutions in America and France that swept away monarchies for more representative forms of government and making possible the abolition of slavery, the enfranchisement of women, and the idea of universal human rights and freedoms.

Each of these struggles was a memorable human drama, and Grayling interweaves the stories of these heroes, including Martin Luther, Mary Wollstonecraft and Rosa Parks, whose sacrifices make us value these precious rights, especially in an age when governments under pressure find it necessary to restrict rights in the name of freedom.

About the Author

A.C. Grayling is Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and a multi-talented author. He believes that philosophy should take an active, useful role in society. He has been a regular contributor to The Times, Financial Times, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Economist, Literary Review, New Statesman and Prospect, and is a frequent and popular contributor to radio and television programmes, including Newsnight, Today, In Our Time, Start the Week and CNN news. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos, and advises on many committees ranging from Drug Testing at Work to human rights groups.

AC Grayling recently answered my Ten Terrifying Questions

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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